Savage Love

Depressing

Comments

1
RISK-- There's a less depressing reason to go to his place or his hotel room. Say some tiny little thing bugs you. He's not as hot as he seemed in the bar, or he has an annoying whine. Foreplay isn't all you'd hoped for, or you find yourself bored. You decide you don't want to spend as much time with him as you initially hoped-- or, more importantly, as much time as he initially hoped. Which is easier, for you to get up, gather your things and go home, or for you to convince him to leave? Murder is pretty unlikely, but the scenario I describe above is bound to happen at some point, probably more than once.
2
Didn't know that about Delaney. Love his comedy. Good advice from the bothaya.
3
I was going to say what Crinoline said. Though my thoughts were more along the lines of assault than 'some tiny little thing'. Because if you change your mind at any point in time, getting yourself out of his place is going to be a helluva lot easier than getting him out of yours.
4
I am married to someone who became depressed. Not terribly depressed, but even so, it was unrelentingly hard work, and I don't think I could've stuck it out if I hadn't already had 20 years of commitment to the guy (and, being married, had made promises relation to "in sickness and in health"!).

I just wanted to say that I'm fully in agreement that SAD has nothing to feel bad about. It's a massive ask, to stay with someone through depression, and in a relatively new relationship, I'd say it's usually going to be too much.
5
Echoing Gamebird and Crinoline, with the twist that even if things do go well: If you don't want to have to wake up in the morning and make small talk over coffee, or you want to ensure a good night's sleep, it's much easier to just get up and leave yourself after the fun is over than to assume the other person will want to get up and go.
If you want to see the One Night Stand again, you can always move to your place. If you want to spend the night, and the ONS seems to want you to spend the night, you still can, but this way, you're in control.

Plus, if it turns out that the ONS is a creep that you don't want to see again, it is much better if that creep doesn't know where you live.

Lastly, always keep in mind the guideline, "don't shit where you eat." It will stand you in good stead.
6
Shouldn't it be up to the Depressed to choose our own spokesperson? I'm not normally bothered by Celebrities Hyping Each Other to the Hoi Polloi, but this seemed almost bad enough to be in a class with that of Ms O'Donnell.
7
Regarding ABDL: I'm a 30-year-old woman who's been turned on by BDSM-ish stuff since I was 5 or 6. There was some confusion and shame in my teens, but other than that I've never really had a problem with my kinks or made any attempt to make them go away. Nevertheless, they're way, way less significant and appealing to me now than they were in my sexually-supercharged teens and early 20s. They still come up quite often when I'm doin' it alone, but the thought of never having kinky sex again wouldn't bother me at all at the moment.

You'll probably always find diapers appealing, but there's a chance that it'll get less important without any effort on your part, which might be a little reassuring?
8
Yes, to Crinoline and Gamebird. BTDT with a guy who kept trying to fist me despite my protests (I felt a creepy vibe coming from him). We were at his place and I would have run out of there naked if I'd had to (fortunately, I didn't) but would have had a hell of a time getting the insistent bastard out of *my* place.

And I know Dan won't like this, but scenarios ranging from "This just isn't working" all the way to assault are why I preferred my one-night stands in bathhouses. Thin doors + lots of people around = physical safety.
9
SAD needs to look up "rescuer mentality" because the girlfriend was not the only one with a problem here. His partner's problems were her own. She's not his little project to work on. I disagree with Delaney a great deal. This guy does think that he's the sun and the air.
10
I have to agree with everyone upthread about the "his place" reasons.

The only thing tipping the scale in the other direction is roommates, if you have them.
11
@DRF

Wowww talk about a shoulder chip, if you don't watch out you'll lose an arm.
13
@11 You might be reading too much into my tone.

The rescuer mentality is not that rare: Someone notices that a friend or acquaintance has a problem, then swoops in to fix it. (It doesn't help that TV and books and movies tend to show the problematic character magically losing his or her problem, whether it's depression or food dependency or even a heart condition, after being dosed with a love interest's love). Then it doesn't work and they get bored and leave.

The real question is whether this guy started dating someone who later got depressed (or whose depression worsened) or whether she was already visibly depressed when he started dating her. Did he happen to find himself with a depressed partner or did he go looking for a project?
14
@12: Damn, man, have a drink. Just because the LW left her doesn't mean he didn't love her. Just because leaving was right for the LW doesn't make her or anyone like her unlovable.
15
@DRF

I'm extremely familiar with what you're referencing here but I think you were pinning it on him a little too hard especially since his letter seemed to indicate that his approach to her was fairly healthy.

Just because someone tries to help doesn't mean they're turning someone into a "little project". Plus nothing about his letter indicated that he was leaving because he was "bored" but more than eventually after a lot of time and investment he realized that the good was finally being outweighed by the bad in their case.
16
One might 'suck it up' for a bit longer if .... you've been together for years and years and this depressive state is an anomaly.

This has been a bit of a theme lately: As 4 says, what you do to try and save a relationship that has many years of good to fall back on should be different from what you do to try and make dating work.
17
ABDL-
I'm a fetishist myself, and found Michael Bader's "Arousal- the secret logic of sexual fantasies" a fascinating read. He agrees with Dan, that you'll never lose the fetish, but has some really cool theories about them. If you're a reader, give this a read.
18
I think -- from the experience of being a Depressed Person myself -- that depression can be like alcoholism, in that the afflicted person has to be the one to decide it's time to Do Something. No one else can fix you. You have to fix yourself. Someone who loves you can hold open all sorts of doors, like SAD did, but you have to walk through them on your own steam. And you can't expect SAD to stand there holding the door for the rest of his life. At some point he's going to say I'm Done With This, Bye Bye.
19
@lolorhone- Spoken by someone without the disease, it would seem. I didn't say he didn't LOVE her, just that his love wasn't enough for either him or her, and therein lies the problem. "Love" is only as good as it stays, or is able to. After that, love is an empty word. I am quite positive that the LW's girlfriend does not feel LOVED, regardless of what he told her when he left. Her future partners will leave her as well, no matter how much they profess to LOVE her.
So yes, she is unloveable. She has a disease that will destroy her and anyone who touches her, whether it be in 1.5 years or 22. If she can find a treatment, good for her. But intractable, life-long, untreatable no matter the therapy, depression makes her unloveable by anyone but FSM or his equivilent sky-god. Not much use to the depressed, this love of which you speak, if the love abandons. Should he feel guilty? He left someone with a disease she probably couldn't help. It didn't bother Newt with his cancerous wives; it shouldn't bother the LW either.
Also- drinking doesn't help the depressed- please make a note of it.
20
"Can relationships and depression work? I found it to be soul-crushing."
No, they cannot, for exactly the reason the LW cites here.
@18- what if she walked through all the doors he opened and was still depressed? What if after decades of walking through every door available, she was still a basket case? Then what?
An alcoholic has but to stop drinking. The mentally ill are at the mercy of the Dr's and their meds- better in 2013, but still not a certain fix. Her odds of finding lasting love are slim and fat. Let's hope she fails to reproduce during her lifetime with genes like hers.
21
Wow, thanks, guys - it's super helpful to know that as a person with depression, my only options are to either suck it up and will my medical condition to disappear, or kill myself to make the world a better place. I feel better already!
22
@OutInBumF

Your understanding of genetics, alcoholism, and depressing are laughable.

Shut. Up.
23
To ABDL, Dan missed something big. This guy is listening to the podcast as he BIKES to school. Earbuds and biking do not mix and may result in injury and/or a ticket. I've got no prob with diaper play, ABs, or Littles, but irresponsible cyclists will get my safeword.
24
@22- I suspect my understanding of 'depressing' is better than yours having spent a lifetime with it. I also suspect my understanding of alcoholism is better than yours, having a family full of them. AND finally, since there have been 3 suicides in my family in 2 years, one of whom was my son in July, I suspect genetics are involved, but somehow the humor escapes me.
STFU, yourself.
25
@15 No, but it did indicate that he was leaving because his heroic efforts hadn't worked. This LW is doing one of two things 1. asking retroactive permission to leave his partner ("I did everything I could, see?") or 2. showing off ("I got her into counseling. I taught her the right way to exercise.") The fact that the respondent does not even consider, "Wait, the woman is depressed but what's going on with the guy?" is the real problem here.

Again, we'd need to go back further. Did he start dating this woman for the usual reasons or did he start dating this woman because he wanted someone he could save?

@21 DUDE. I'm not saying that counseling and treatment and hey even exercise can't help. I'm saying that this LW is tooting his own horn a whole lot. No one wants you to die. (Reads @12) Well, no one who matters does.

@23 Good point.
26
@OutInBumF

Family full of mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, suicide? Yeah I got that.

I also actually decided to get a degree on the subject rather than just assuming my personal experience made me some sort of expert. You know, the kind of expert who implies to total strangers that they should kill themselves.
27
"The fact that the respondent does not even consider, "Wait, the woman is depressed but what's going on with the guy?" is the real problem here."

I'm suggesting that she did consider it but decided it wasn't the issue at hand here.

28
@21--Just one guy saying that, Elsewise.
29
OIBF - you sound depressed, which is totally understandable. You seem to think it's good your son died because then at least he couldn't contaminate his future offspring with his inherited despair? Dark view. While your current level of grief is entirely appropriate, you might need some medical treatment if it continues for an excessive length of time. It is a very treatable medical problem, from which most people recover quite well. I have a lot of people with severe mental illness in my family. Some have died, some have been killed by others. Some simply suffer. The universal theme in their deaths is that they did not receive appropriate or competent care, they had abusive childhoods, they had no familiar or social support. If they had even one of those things made better, their odds of survival and recovery would have been much higher. Had they had them all, they might have lived happy fulfilled lives. They very well may have suffered occasional bouts of despair, maybe lasting years, but they would have pulled out of it. I'm the first one in my family to recover. It took 17 years. I was lucky. But you and I can work to make more people luckier. We can help. I'm terribly sorry your son died. Sometimes it just takes people like that. But you cannot blame yourself, and you cannot blame him. Blame the disease. And by condemning the depressed to death or a barren relationshipless existence, which is wildly unfair to people simply suffering from a medical condition they didn't choose to have, all you show is misplaced anger at the people who suffer, and not the disease. Fight the disease. Help people. We all have shit to deal with in this life. Don't make it worse for those who suffer with your angry hateful words. Lift people up, don't push the sick and weak and suffering down.

Genetics is only part of it. It's not fate. As you well know.
30
OIBF - you mention you have suffered from a lifetime of depression. If it has been constant, your whole life, whatever treatment regimen you are currently in/have been using is clearly not working for you. Change your care, your meds, go inpatient, do CBT if you haven't, try electroshock or transcranial magnetic, do intensive outpatient, change something in your training or treatment regimen to work to get better. If you have not exhausted all these possibilities (at least), you don't have ground to stand on, condemning other people suffering depression to your own (chosen) fate.

You might also want to consider that your alcoholic relatives are self-medicating, and be a little more gracious about the disease and addiction that will likely kill them, or at least cost them highly.
31
Dear Dan,

I'm a proud puppy [that is, someone who has the fetish for puppyplay] and let me tell you, the last thing I have are feelings of helplessness. Especially not the kinds an ABDL might have.
32
@27 By "the respondent," I mean Rob Delaney. If he thinks that the LW's state of mind is not the real issue here, to the point where it does not merit even one word, then he's wrong. The LW is the one who wrote in looking for something, and his partner was not.
33
@ Outin #22 etc. - I'm sorry you've had to deal with so many suicides in your family in such a short time - including your son - I can't imagine how devastating that would be.

I wonder if your experience has skewed your opinions on solutions for chronically depressed people, though. Depression seems to be a fairly common malady these days, and it can take a while to find a treatment which works for each particular case; granted some don't respond to treatment. Advocating that depressed people should just throw in the towel before they reproduce sounds like punching someone when s/he's already down. It makes me wonder if you wish you'd followed your own advice, so you'd be spared the pain of your son's death.

I'm not so far out of the woods myself that I can say with certainty I won't slide back. And during my several-year stint with depression that reached a passively suicidal level, comments like yours would NOT have helped me in my fight to survive and emerge. SAD should not feel too bad - my partner of 12 years was depressed right alongside me, and in the end, neither of us was able to help the other.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was not able to reproduce, but I have done a perhaps equally good, or equally bad thing: taken as my own the child of two people who together have a history of bipolar disorder, depression, drug addiction, ADHD, anger management, and ... the list goes on. On many days, and in many ways, I hope for the strength and insight not to inflict my limitations/damage on others. I am hoping for the same thing for you, Out.

34
I meant #24, not #22 - sorry mydriasis.
35
@19: I'm sorry for your losses, but they're not an excuse for you to be a condescending dick who advocates suicide to depressed people you haven't even met. I simply disagree that love is only as good as it stays- I've had relationships that have both changed and sustained me (and yes, I've been clinically depressed) . And I didn't say that you said he didn't love her; I said depression does not make her or anyone like her unlovable.
36
ADVICE FOR PARTNERS, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY OF PEOPLE WITH DEPRESSION (from someone who's suffered from severe and crippling depression for years):

1. Don't think you can cure your partner/friend/family member. You can't. You can be loving and supportive, but you can't solve their problems for them, and attempts to do so are likely to backfire. In fact, they may feel guilty and pressured by your "help," because guilt, anxiety and self-blame tend to go along with depression. That has definitely been my experience, and that of other people I know.

2. @9 is actually onto something (despite being unnecessarily hard on SAD); it's awful to be someone's fixer-upper project. It's legitimate to want your partner/friend/family member to get better, because you care about them, and because their depression affects you, too. But it's also very important for them to feel that you accept them the way they are. In the case of a romanic partner, if you can't accept them they way they are, leave. Personally, I find that feeling that I have to get better in order to be accepted by my partner or friends has never motivated me to get bettter - quite the opposite, in fact.

3. You are not your partner/friend/family member's, psychiatrist, therapist or doctor. Everyone thinks they are an expert on depression. You are (probably) not an expert, and you probably harbour a lot of misunderstandings, plus you are too involved with them to look at things objectively. Leave treatment to people who are qualified.

4. No one likes being patronized or told what to do. No one likes being diagnosed by an armchair psychiatrist. No one likes being told how they should feel. Depressed people hear useless amateur advice all the time. "Just focus on the postive." "Get a hobby." "Get more exercise." "You should eat better." Etcetera. Don't be one of those people.

5. If someone has depression that's resistant to treatment, it does NOT mean that they're lazy, ungrateful, unmotivated, or don't really want to get better. It is a biological phenomenon that is beyond a person's conscious control. It that weren't true, everyone with depression would get better, because it fucking sucks. Eating right and exercising and thinking happy thoughts is all good, but it's not necessarily a cure. Same with going to counselling. They may have underlying medical issues. It may be that they have been misdiagnosed and/or are being mismedicated. (That was the case with me - I took antidepressants on and off for 15 years, and they only ever made things worse. Recently, I finally went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder, and now for the first time in my life, I'm getting medication that works.)

...

I don't think SAD was wrong to end the relationship. It was not working, so ending it was the right thing to do. I don't doubt that he was well-intentioned. I also know it can be very, very hard to be close to a depressed person, and I sympathize. BUT his letter betrays a lot of misunderstandings, and comes across as a tad blamey and judgemental and naive. To me, his letter sounds like, "I did all these things for her. She should have gotten better. Why didn't she get better?" Sorry SAD, it doesn't work that way.

Discalimer: I know a lot of people would dispute some of this advice. Ultimately I can only speak for myself, but all these things are true in my (long) personal experience.
37
I should have added:

6. If you do attempt to play white knight and rescue your partner/friend/family member from their depression, you will wear yourself out and probably just end up resenting them. I think my other points are as much about preserving your own sanity as they are about helping the depressed person.
38
I have had serious depression since I was a child. It is currently under good control.

My husband has definitely had my back in a couple of rough spots, mental health-wise. The biggest thing he does to enhance my wellness, however, is supporting me in taking care of myself. He assumes that I will need time to exercise, nearly every day, and doesn't whine about putting it on the schedule. If I need a night at home rather than at a party, he doesn't pressure me to go to the party. There's never been any question that we will find a way to consistently afford my medication. And so forth. I trust that he is committed to me and that he will live through any downturns, and IMHO the best way I can honor that is to make downturns as unlikely as possible. He offers to rescue me, and I do my damnedest to make rescue unnecessary.

19, I'm truly sorry for your heartbreaking loss. I have a biological son, and he has depression. I feel lousy about giving him the genes for it, but pretty good that my experience gave me some insight into how he feels and how to help him. I had entirely untreated depression for 15 years. I would do every bit of that time over again, twice, three times, if it meant that I could use that experience to help my kid. I realize, however, that I am only one ingredient in his recovery. I reach my hand out to you in sympathy.
39
I have had serious depression since I was a child. It is currently under good control.

My husband has definitely had my back in a couple of rough spots, mental health-wise. The biggest thing he does to enhance my wellness, however, is supporting me in taking care of myself. He assumes that I will need time to exercise, nearly every day, and doesn't whine about putting it on the schedule. If I need a night at home rather than at a party, he doesn't pressure me to go to the party. There's never been any question that we will find a way to consistently afford my medication. And so forth. I trust that he is committed to me and that he will live through any downturns, and IMHO the best way I can honor that is to make downturns as unlikely as possible. He offers to rescue me, and I do my damnedest to make rescue unnecessary.

19, I'm truly sorry for your heartbreaking loss. I have a biological son, and he has depression. So far, he is doing well. I feel lousy about giving him the genes for it, but pretty good that my experience gives me some insight into how he feels and how to help him. I had entirely untreated depression for 15 years. I would do every bit of that time over again, twice, three times, if it meant that I could use that experience to help my kid.

There is no guarantee that I will always be able to help him. We are only a single ingredient in our children's lives. You are in my thoughts, with every wish that somewhere, somehow, you will find comfort.
40
WTF? Sorry about the double post.
41
Chiming in here. Correct diagnosis is very important, my daughter was diagnosed as ADHD and depressed. Those medications helped, but not enough; about six months ago her diagnosis was changed to bipolar disorder. She is on a mood stabilizer and off the anti-depressant and stimulant drugs and doing much better. My husband too, did not do well with antidepressants until a mood stabilizer was added to the mix. I have depression that is reasonably well controlled with a pair of antidepressants. My eldest is also depressed and I believe my youngest may be bipolar as well as my daughter. If I could modify my DNA to not pass on the genes for depression, I would. However, I do not feel that any of us would be better off dead.

Research is also looking good. Ketamine works well for some intractable depressions, and research is going on to understand why, so that the usefulness can be preserved with undesirable side effects minimized. It is a very common illness, and a lot of research is being done on it.
42
I hope your son finds the light and that you stay there MN.

Depression is awful and sometimes it seems like there is no end to it. But as we all know in Savage land: it gets better . In time, with work, with help, things can be better. And if you fall down again, it can get better again. We're not unlovable, we're not irreparable; we have an illness and we can get better. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
43
Out, I just wanted to say, all the way from Australia, my deepest sympathy. Losing a child is the worst thing that could happen to anyone.
Depression is a hard road, and I understand why you might think its better to not exist than suffer depression and ultimately destroy your loved ones with your suicide.
But you loved your son, and helpless love is better than no love at all. I'm paralysed by the love I have for my own children, and as a mother, fear their loss.
Even if I lose a child, though, I will always be grateful for having them.
I wish you so well.
44
Holy shit OutInBumF. Advocating suicide as a solution for anything is pretty messed up (regardless of one's personal history with it) and throwing some weird eugenics like logic into it is even scarier. Opinions aside, I am sorry for your loss. But please don't advocate for suicide. I want you to think for a moment how many thousands have thought it or even attempted it, only to escape by some unforeseen circumstance to breath a sigh of relief as they find themselves again but with a better understanding and a greater appreciation of life in general.
Plus you're commenting on the column of a founder of the "It Gets Better" campaign. It doesn't get much more ironic than that.
@43 FTW.
45
@lolorhone and mydriasis Let's not be too harsh on #19 : it's obvious s/he's in deep pain and is not advocating anybody's suicide but his/her own.

@19 As another depressed person (under medication), I am convinced that I am totally likable and quite lovable. I am not livable with though, mainly because I don't want to live with someone 7/7 - I tend to be too caring so I need solo time to rest, in order to further engage the world. I works fine for me.

If your motivation for suicide is being afraid of causing hurt to your loved ones, maybe you should think of disengaging from their lives and keeping a distance, both to protect them from you and you from them. Suicide will only further hurt the ones who need you alive, it's not the solution, it will only add further burden to their lives. Meanwhile, by all means keep in close touch with professionnals who are treating your depression, and go and make new friends - don't talk about depression with them. Practicing being "normal" helps staying out of the hole, and makes getting out of it easier, I've found.

46
@nocutename "don't shit where you eat"

I'm confused about the meaning of this, in context. Do you mean : be nice to the person you're about to bed, you'll be safer ?
47
here is the thing about adult babies: it is not that most people think they are pedophiles, it is that whining and infantile is repugnant to a lot of people. even someone who is into maybe scat most likely would not like the whining. someone who is into BDSM might tolerate the passive baby, but that diaper and the helplessness and the cutesy end of it--might also repulse. i worked phone sex for a long time and the most lonely and isolated kink was the adult baby. the thing about it is, it's not a kink that someone can know, not be into and forget or be okay with not being okay with it---if someone isn't into adult babies (most people) the idea of someone who is an adult baby is a total turn off. out of all the kinksters i know, the babies seem to have to find a pro--and even then, not many pros will put up with babies.
48
19, 20 OutIn-- I actually kind of like the comparison of depression to alcoholism in that both are hard to treat and both can't be cured by outside parties no matter how hard they try. I would offer this quibble: An alcoholic will not be all better just by stopping drinking. There's still the long hard slog of figuring out all the things that got them there in the first place, all the groundwork of learning different ways to relate and solve problems without being drunk.

As for the general discussion about depression-- perhaps it would be better to think of depression as a constellation of symptoms that can have different causes and therefore different cures. For some it's going to be a matter of finding the right meds. For others it might be cognitive therapy. I'm not an expert on the subject so I can't give a comprehensive list-- and neither is SAD. He tried what he knew to try.

It is possible that there may be people for whom there really is no cure. I'm enough of an optimist that I don't like to think about that possibility, but also enough of a realist to know that's where logic leads us. If you really think of depression as a disease, then you have to consider that just as there's end-game diabetes that's too severe to be cured, just as people sometimes die of pneumonia despite best efforts, there may be depression that's so bad nothing works.
49
@38 Wow, MN. It's rare that so few sentences can be so inspiring. Your husband sounds like a great guy.
50
Re 36 "Eating right and exercising and thinking happy thoughts is all good, but it's not necessarily a cure."

Worth noting that all of those are good (but not universal and infallible) treatments for minor depression. They don't necessarily work for more serious depression, though.
51
Oh, agree with DRF re MN's inspiring sentences. And Crinoline re depression being someone the affected person needs to decide they want to work to make better--no one else can do it for them.
52
Let me add-- While the depressed person does need to take the steps to help themselves get better, making that decision and following the steps is still no guarantee. I know that sounds pessimistic, but I hate to hear the depressed person who doesn't get better accused of not trying hard enough or of wanting to manipulate those around them. I hate to hear incompetent counselors and doctors shrug off their incompetence with the excuse of "oh well, she wasn't trying."
53
ABDL - While Dan is right there is no treatment to rewire kinks, it's not true that kinks never change or only shift according to the same "story". They can come and go in intensity, drop off the radar altogether, entirely new ones can open up. Your mileage may vary -- in general, men don't have much fluidity about sexual interests BUT not all men are the same. Duh. Some people do find they flex in interests. Also, how about outsourcing?

If you've been following Dan for a while, you'll be familiar with the concept of open relationships and outsourcing some of your kink if you happen to fall in love with a great guy who's not into your kink -- assuming you can enjoy vanilla (or whatever) with him as well.
54
Another to ABDL - your idea of being grossed out about being into diapers at 40 smacks of normal ageism. When I was 20, anything to do with 40 year olds having sex was creepy, especially if they looked like most 40 year olds.

For most people this changes a bit as you age and you and your cohort of friends / lovers / fuck buddies also ages. Emo bois in diapers might still be your preferred porn site, and not lemonparty.org -- but if you go to any open-age gay kink parties you'll find some geriatric dudes there who literally walk with canes but still enjoy their kinks.
55
"Not following @RobDelaney on Twitter? You're the only one. Go to robdelaney.com to buy his new book."

I don't follow anyone on Twitter, so I guess that makes me the world's biggest loser. Yet another laughable hyperbolic statement from Her Majesty, Queen Dan Savage.
56
@22- I can't remember theist time that I came to he comments section and you didn't attack someone. Their intelligence, their understanding of a topic etc etc. you're just a nasty pants bully.
57
Electing not to reproduce biologically is not scandalous in any way. The planet does not require more human beings on it. A person who does not exist does not suffer from not existing.

To make that decision while taking into account that one is depressed isn’t any more scandalous. There is a genetic component for most people and depressed parents are less engaged with their children.

I’ve personally elected not to create another human being. I think that was a good choice for many reasons. I cheerfully endorse it for others. This makes me scary how, exactly?
58
@46 (sissoucat): You know, I've never actually used that expression, and perhaps I didn't use it correctly to mean what it generally means. I meant to say, keep separate parts of your life separate: don't bring the crazy and potentially hassle-y (the One Night Stand) into your place of refuge. (I mean crazy in both a bad way, but also in a good way, like crazy wild sexual adventures with someone whom you don't know at all. Even if it turns out to be great and problem-free, it represents the crazy side of your life.)

I don't mean that you should never bring a sex partner or an FWB to your home, just not when you don't know what kind of person the ONS may turn out to be.
59
Great advice- but you forgot one tiny, tiny thing- ABDL: If you're wearing headphones while you bike to school, STOP! It's super unsafe, and unless you'd like your very intelligent college-educated brain all over the roads, it's worth it to wait to listen to the podcast until you're...walking somewhere...or grocery shopping...or any number of things that don't require driving any sort of vehicle (car, bike, unicycle, whatever).
signed Another Friendly Bike Commuter.
60
Great advice- but you forgot one tiny, tiny thing- ABDL: If you're wearing headphones while you bike to school, STOP! It's super unsafe, and unless you'd like your very intelligent college-educated brain all over the roads, it's worth it to wait to listen to the podcast until you're...walking somewhere...or grocery shopping...or any number of things that don't require driving any sort of vehicle (car, bike, unicycle, whatever).
signed Another Friendly Bike Commuter.
61
Dan, why are guys that are into Baby so fuckin cute?
62
I suffered from severe depression in the past and was glad I was single while going through it because I wouldn't have wanted to put anyone through that. SAD blows my mind with what an amazing boyfriend he is. His amount of care, compassion, love and support blows my mind. I didn't think there were guys out there like that anymore. I would love to find a guy one day that thinks I'm worth that much of an effort. Can I have is number? lol
63
@7, yes, interest can shift over time, but it can come roaring back too, even after you think you've left it behind.

@47, finding oút someone likes diapers is not the kiss of death, if I don't have to be involved.
64
Holy hell, #12, what a thing to say. Those of us coping with depression have a hard enough time as it is - advising us to just kill ourselves and get it over with is horrible on a number of levels.

As for SAD's experience, you've nothing to feel guilty about. I've coped with depression most of my life, and we all know how huge of a burden it can be for our partners. We do not expect you to tough it out forever - all we want is to know we're loved. You did all you could to help her, but not all of us can be helped (at least not on someone else's schedule). Cheers to you for giving it your all - that's more than many would be willing to do.
65
Kids these days, still wearing earbuds on their commute. Are they trying to become a statistic? "Witnesses speculated that Otieno was wearing headphones at the time and likely never heard the chopper tumbling toward him, tail-first."

If this hasn't yet happened to you on your commute, ABDL, it's just a matter of time.
66
Get off Out's back. Until or unless you have personally experienced the suicide of someone you have loved more dearly than anyone else in the world, you cannot know where they are coming from. It takes years to find equilibrium when your world is smashed to dust. One of the myriad of emotions felt is an undeniable rage. This may be expressed as hyperbole or reactionary comments or what the f- ever, but the pain is unlike anything else ever felt. One of the worst aspects of suicide is that once it happens in a family, it can spread like cancer and no one knows why.

As for one's degrees and studies in psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuro-science, et cetera, much like physics, our understanding of brain function is woefully inadequate - particularly when one starts to address genetic predisposition. Thus I find it appalling when one claims that their education makes them somehow more of an expert than someone who has lived it. I've been in higher ed for 15yrs. It takes approximately 10,000 hours to gain expertise in a subject, how can one say that someone who has lived a specific experience hasn't gained 10,000 hours of insight? Sure, it may not be WASC certified or clinical experience, however, it cannot be denied as truth for that person, either.

On a side note, it was a joke asserting that Rob DeLaney is the celebrity representative of Depression. Of every public figure out there, he's willing to talk about it in all it's ugly glory.
67
I don't discount Out's pain, nor do I revel in it. But advocating suicide to all depressed people is a statement that should be shouted down, regardless of how sympathetic the source is. It's dangerously misguided. And, as a person who has not only been severely depressed in the past but had major family trauma as well (my father died, my mother lost her left breast to cancer, and my brother was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis II within 3 months of each another, with over 35 surgeries between the two of them to follow over the next 5 years), I don't excuse lashing out- especially in a public forum. I'm sorry for his loss- I already said this- but his grief is manifesting itself in an inexcusably hostile and harmful fashion and I couldn't stay quiet about it.

Regardless, I wish everyone I've ever spoken to, flirted or commiserated or argued against a wonderful Thanksgiving (I know it's just a another day for you, but I'm still including you in this sissoucat :) ).
68
I just wanted to say that Dan was great on Bill Maher's show Friday. He did to Catholic priests what they did to kids!

Dan said, "[Catholic authorities] don't have moral high ground when they talk about the welfare and safety of children. ... They have squandered that on the tips of their dicks."

Outstanding!
69
@3: That's totally true. It also ensures that he's not going to be hanging around your place next week trying to "win you over" with his stalking.
70
I appreciate everyone sharing their depression stories especially @36 and @38. I will probably never put depression behind me, but with a lot of CBT, I can manage my life so it's only "bad" for a few weeks a year. When I have a depressive episode, my husband is my rock. Like @36, he supports me best when he's creating the conditions that let me take care of myself. A lot of that is what the LW did-- cooking healthy meals, finding a therapist, being loving. It works for us because I am intensely interested in my own mental welfare; I *want* to get out of the depression, and I've got confidence that I can make it out. There's an old joke: how many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

We have no idea what LW's partner felt about her own depression. We don't know if she wanted to improve and couldn't. Or if she wanted to get better but didn't think it was possible. Or didn't think she deserved to be happy. Or whatever. Wherever she is, I hope she finds her light someday.
71
@57 What I was responding to was the first paragraph of #12. Choosing to not have children is way fucking different than asking a group of people to remove themselves from the gene pool.
72
sissoucat @46: Don't shit where you eat is most applicable to the workplace romance scenario. As in don't bring you sexual/romantic life into your professional one, because it might very well wreak havoc on your career, not to mention the day to day grind where you may have to interact with a jilted ex.
73
@57 I think there's a difference between realizing parenthood is not for you [which is a valid choice] and saying that you should kill yourself before you have children because if you pass on your treatable disorder to them they will never find love or happiness.
74
I disagree with Delaney. An outsider cannot "fix" someone else's depression. They can, however, make the depressed person feel pressurised by their rescue attempts, and like a constant failure when they can't be magically cured by the other's efforts.
I have loved someone with depression for over 10 years. I have tried fixing him - he feels like a disappointment to me for not blossoming under my well-meaning attention. I have learned that if you truly love them, and you want to be with them, be their lover, not their doctor, not their counsellor, not their mother. Don't take their condition personally. You couldn't cure cancer with healthy meals and exercise - this is also a medical condition. And lok after yourself.
75
@52 Totally agreed...depression for some people can be chronic and difficult to treat. Of course people with depression have to put effort into getting better, but depression isn't the person's fault. The lw didn't do anything wrong, but I didn't like the tone of blame in the letter.
76
Not breeding has much to recommend it. I don’t see the problem in saying so.

Acknowledging that after 50 years of intractable depression, no, it probably isn’t going to get better is fair. It probably isn’t.

Acknowledging that a person with intractable depression probably would not be a good parent is reasonable. So is acknowledging that they would probably not be accepted as donors for a sperm bank.

It’s not like s/he’s advocating that people stab themselves in the eye at the first sign of mopiness. Not having children is a perfectly good outcome. Stabbing oneself in the eye is not.
77
"Acknowledging that a person with intractable depression probably would not be a good parent is reasonable. So is acknowledging that they would probably not be accepted as donors for a sperm bank."

This is the problem with people who don't understand how genetics work.

I agree with sentence number 1 completely. If you are depressed, don't become a parent. Full stop.

Sentence number two is silly. No one has perfect genes and Lord help me do I want to stay away from the idiot who thinks they do. Genes can predispose one to depression, and seeing as there's no genetic test for the "depression gene" (I cannot stress how sarcastic those scare quotes are) then just saying "depressed people shouldn't donate sperm" is missing the point entirely.

Even if depression WERE a highly genetic illness (It isn't. Learn the difference between familial and genetic intimately if you want to contest this) it would be really shoddy practice to use expression of the gene as a screening factor in possible donors.
78
Clinical depression blows. I've fought it my entire life and it is an evil disease that tries to kill you every day. That's a huge reason I decided not to have kids; I don't want anyone to have to live like this. As for Mr. Hero boyfriend, I had one like that. Always trying to fix me, he could come across as some great guy if he described himself. But he was a domineering, condescending, judgemental man who under the guise of "helping" made my depression many times worse. I wish he had left me quickly. To those of you who would label me unlovable: you are wrong. My illness is hateful, but it does not define me.
79
The other reason you don't want to take them back to your place is you can't force them to leave, whereas if you're at their place you can go when you want. In general screwing strangers is dangerous, however,
80
@1: +1
81
@76 I like children and hope to have my own someday, so I don't always properly acknowledge that people have such deep idealistic beliefs about them existing in the first place. So I apologize if I've somehow made you feel like I'm disrespecting your beliefs/lifestyle. The thing is a lot of people become parents in their 20s and 30s, way before this supposedly reasonable time point of 50 years of intractable depression. Another point is; not everything get's passed down to your children and things that you don't have yourself but were in your genetic material can. So how does a restriction on reproduction for the end purpose of ending depression actually workout?

And actually s/he's advocating that people with depression go kill themselves before they have children. Which I shall say again is just all around fucked up.
82
Sorry, 77 got it (and better too). Didn't mean to group up on you Alison.
83
Depression's not incurable and it's not "genetic," either. The 1970s called, they want their shitty science back.

The "genetic" explanation is old and thoroughly debunked by now. We used to think depression was caused by low serotonin levels, but this was based PURELY on observing that raising serotonin seemed to sorta alleviate depression. That's like pumping a pain patient full of morphine and concluding that pain is caused by a lack of morphine.

The mental health field is stuffed to the GILLS with this kind of shitty, shitty "science" from decades ago. They're starting to get their act together now, but it'll be decades before what they're learning now filters down into the practices of actual doctors.

@12 - I don't care if you've lived with it, that doesn't mean you understand how it works and why it happens and what can be done about it. It only means you understand what it's like to live with it. So yes, do shut up.

If severe depression was genetic, the human race would have already evolved out of it centuries ago. It wouldn't be inexplicably cropping up now.

The fact is, human health evolved under specific conditions and needs pretty much those conditions, or at least most of them, to do okay. But instead, we do about a gazillion things completely wrong in this society when it comes to creating what's needed for emotionally healthy people.

We neglect, abuse, invalidate, isolate, overwork, stress, shame, insult, and emotionally destroy each other. We don't give children the attachments and safety they evolved to need in order for their brains to develop properly. We don't eat the diets that make us healthy, we take antibiotics and murder the healthy bacteria colonies that should be keeping our serotonin levels up. We sit inside with artificial lights, though our bodies evolved with hours of sunlight on naked skin and all the vitamin D production is vital to emotional health. We don't SLEEP enough. We don't move our bodies. We don't hug and cuddle and encourage production of oxytocin. We discourage close, loving relationships and bonds in all but romantic relationships.

The society we live in is an absolute perfect shitstorm of depression-causing factors that stress our bodies and minds to the breaking point. Depression isn't a "disease," it's a fail-safe mode that evolution designed to keep us lying low and consuming fewer resources during high-stress times. Only, we now live in PERPETUAL high stress times, so our brains get stuck in what's SUPPOSED to be a very temporary mode.

And yes, Virginia, you CAN get it unstuck. I should know, I did. I did it by addressing the problem from multiple angles and ignoring the "it's genetic!" bullshit that always seemed to come with a pill someone was trying to sell me.

Instead, I listened to what every other benign/reasonably credible source out there was telling me about depression. Meditate? Sure. Eat healthy? Sure. Probiotics? Fucking amazing difference right there. Exercise? Awesome. Keep a journal and talk about feelings? Ok. Spend more time with friends and work on trusting people more? Scary as shit, but did it. Read self-help books? Most of them are bullshit, but reading about actual psychotherapeutic principles was a GODSEND. Watch tons of old episodes of Mr. Rogers? Turned shitty days into good ones. Focus outward and try to help those around me? Feels amazing, so important to self-worth. Philosophical Taoism? Very helpful. Learning to feel feelings instead of judging them? Amazing, scary, amazing. Having a husband who loved me but didn't try to "fix" me and just helped me take each day as it came and love the good moments, helping nurture them to grow bigger and more numerous and gradually crowd out the bad? Sheer gold. Multivitamins? Omega 3? Theanine? Passion flower? Yup.

Nothing worked every day, but there was always something in that list that would work no matter what the day. I kept it up because I refused to believe that this could just be the way that it is. I listened to the voice inside that said, "You know what? This is bullshit. It's not supposed to be like this." And a tiny little crack of light started shining through, and with enough coaxing, it took over.

I went from suicidal and hospitalized to actually fucking HAPPY in less than two years. No drugs. It is very, very possible.
84
@76 I'm not big on kids myself and don't plan on having any. Simply not wanting them is enough of a reason in my eyes.

What I do have a problem with is the idea that someone who suffers from depression should never even attempt to deal with it and find happiness, and that they're genes are so flawed that they shouldn't have kids. That's what I disagree with.
85
83- Lady Laurel-- Nice essay, well written. Allow me to take issue with a few of your points.

It is possible for a non-adaptive inherited trait to continue to show up generation after generation. Perhaps the trait is generally non-adaptive but confers reproductive advantages in other areas. Perhaps there's a reproductive advantage for the siblings of the affected individual. There could also be the situation where the same mutation keeps cropping up despite its being continually selected against.

Also, to reiterate what I said in 48, it's not a matter of depression being either curable or incurable. It's analogous with cancer. Some number of treatments for cancer have had great success such that it's possible for someone to say that he had cancer, that he was treated for cancer and was cured. Yet you also get people who got cancer, sought treatment, and died of the disease. Their cancer turned out to be incurable. It's the same for depression. Some people's depression turns out to be curable with some number of treatments. Others die of the disease.

Your largest point is that depression is entirely environmental in cause and those causes are entirely due to the stresses in the modern society. If this were true, everyone in the modern society would be depressed, and that's not the case. It's easy to point to people who have suffered far more stress with far less depression than others who suffer depression with everything going for them.

I also take issue with your depiction of earlier times being so idyllic. People have been abusing, emotionally destroying, insulting, invalidating, neglecting, overworking, shaming, and stressing each other since the beginning of time. There have always been problems giving children attachment and safety, and our diets now are probably better than they've ever been in history, not perfect, but we're more likely to get enough calories, enough protein, and we have access to fresh vegetables year round as opposed to past generations when diets tended to be even fattier while being less adequate.

I say that, and yet I like your ideas for coming through depression: More cuddling, more solid relationships in every facet of our lives, more helping others because it helps ourselves, better diets. Hell, I won't retype your whole list, but it's very good. Thank you for writing it.
86
@66 I'm sorry, but a few years ago I could have easily read Out's comment, gone out and killed myself. Advising everyone who's depressed to kill themselves is inexcusable, no matter what the fuck happened to you.
87
@"Thus I find it appalling when one claims that their education makes them somehow more of an expert than someone who has lived it."

Go back and read what I wrote. I've done both. That was my point. I reserve the right to not go into the details of my "lived it" credentials but I assure you they're solid.
88
@24 OutInBumF I am sorry for your losses, but to say that depressed people will have depressed offspring is incorrect, there is a heightened probability but many things contribute to depression -- genetics, random biological events, interactions with social environment, sociology (availability of systemic support, health care, housing, rewarding jobs that pay a living wage), epigenetics, free will / choices, random events, etc.

@66 Dewsterling yes, lived experience is important, but alone it does not lead to complete understanding. Your lived experience may be very different from mine even though we have the same categories of experience / identities / demographics. That's why I value both lived experience and the sharing of it, and research social science based on observations of groups of individuals, multilevel modeling / SEM, as well as controlled experiments. Formal education doesn't make one an expert but it does help in understanding and interpreting complex data. Americans of all political stripes tend to over-rely on the lived experience angle.
89
My comments, in no particular order:

1) I am clinically depressed. My husband of 31 years has stuck by me (the depressive episodes started 13 years ago) and is the most supportive guy I could ever imagine.

2) We decided not to have children long before I was diagnosed, simply because we didn't want to live the life of parents. Haven't regretted that decision for a millisecond.

3) MANY illnesses and debilitating conditions are passed from parent to child. If we started telling people they couldn't have kids because they are genetically predisposed to something, NOBODY would have children. We ALL have something going on (heart disease, ADD/ADHD, certain cancers, diabetes) that are passed to our offspring. That's life.

4) The depressed girlfriend may have had low libido due to being on the wrong antidepressant(s). Before the drug "cocktail" I am currently on, every antidepressant a former therapist tried on me made me non-orgasmic. (And other people lose interest in sex in general, because of the drugs.). Knowing you can't get pleasure from sex is enough to kill a person's libido. We used to have to add Wellbutrin to whatever else I was taking, to get that back.

5) Rarely does a doctor find the best antidepressant for a client on the first try. Sometimes it takes two, three (or twelve!) attempts to hit the right one, or the right combination. And, to add insult to injury, it usually takes a month or so for the drug to start working, if it's going to, so a depressed person has to have infinite patience during the trial-and-error phase. Patience is difficult under less serious circumstances. For the depressive, it is somehow worse (IMHO). This last time for me (it started 4 years ago) it took one shrink a FULL YEAR of "experimenting" on me with at least 6 or 7 drugs, none of which did the trick. She finally handed me off to another shrink in the practice, who was much more attuned to neurochemistry and neurobiology, and he created the cocktail of meds that finally pulled me out of the murky depths. We are continually monitoring my moods and feelings, and he has tweaked my drug regimen a number of times during our (so far) three years together.

6) While I would not consider myself "suicidal," I often feel as if I would just rather not be here. One of the things that tempers that feeling for me is knowing my death would pretty much ruin my husband's life. No, that's not ego talking. I don't want to be in this world without him, either. Some people define suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Some people think suicide is cowardly. Personally, I think it requires a tremendous amount of courage (that I don't have) and for those left behind, it's torture. But sometimes the physical or psychic pain a person feels is intolerable, and if it feels never-ending, suicide seems to be the only way out. People who have never experienced that kind of pain may not understand, and it's almost impossible to describe.

90
Everyone should read @78's non-spam post.

@83 Amen to mid-century misconceptions still mucking things up, but there are plenty of things that are harmful and genetic and not out of the genome. There's a gene that causes sickle-cell anemia in its homozygous form but confers resistance to malaria in people who only have one copy. Huntington's disease confers no advantage but it is still with us because it usually hits people after they've reproduced.

If there are genetic contributors to depression, they might be like that: a side effect of something that is either useful or that does not impair people's ability to reproduce despite being harmful.
91
Reading RISK's letter and Dan's response, I had the exact same thought as #10. If you have roommates it should make it harder for someone who turns out to be a creep to do something serious beyond the normal potential of being a schmuck in bed.
92
OutInBumF never instructed anyone to kill themselves before having children. Please reread.

OutInBumF asserted that treatment for depression exists and can work. This is an accurate statement.

OutInBumF also asserted that there is such a thing as refractory depression. If one suffers (because yes, depression is a state of suffering) from major depression for decades with little or no relief, any intimate relationship one attempts is likely to be soul-killing. These are perfectly accurate statements.

There can be a genetic component to familial depression (or any other condition) without a specific “depression gene.” If I have a condition with a genetic component that *by definition* makes life not worth living — I don’t think any other condition has “life not worth living” as an essential element of its definition — why would I want to create a new human being with an increased liklihood of having a life not worth living?
93
@85 - you misunderstood a lot of where I'm coming from, but I'll take responsibility for that and for not being clearer on a few points. I was largely writing from an reactionary place in response to the idea of "depression is genetic, kill yourself and destroy the bad genes."

I don't believe that depression is necessarily 100% environmental, but I do believe it's 100% preventable and "curable" (if you'll accept that term, I'm talking about just being able to live normally and be happy) if you look at and address environmental causes. Maybe there's a genetic predisposition in me that means I have to work a little harder to be happy than most, but if so, I would question whether that predisposition is really a predisposition to depression as such or merely something like a predisposition to emotional sensitivity. I could go on and on on that subject and cite the works of Dr. Gabor Mate (does great work in the area of intersections between psychology and biology). Anyway...

"Some people's depression turns out to be curable with some number of treatments. Others die of the disease."

This is a very silly argument to use to try to prove whether something is curable or not. Our (often quite profit-driven) medicine hasn't found the cure, our preferred treatments don't always work, therefore it's incurable? Pfft. I would probably be "incurable" based on this logic. Standard treatments made me worse.

"I also take issue with your depiction of earlier times being so idyllic. People have been abusing, emotionally destroying, insulting, invalidating, neglecting, overworking, shaming, and stressing each other since the beginning of time."

Not really, no. Only since the beginning of civilization, which is really a very tiny percentage of the time humans have spent on this earth. For 9/10ths of the time we've been here in our present form, we've lived in close-knit hunter/gatherer societies where cooperation has been the norm for survival, not competition. That didn't change until our populations grew so big that we had to create civilization and competitive economies to try to deal with that fact. Pretty much all of what we consider "human history" is just what's happened to us since we became an overcrowded and insanely overstressed animal. You simply can't take that as the "norm" from a biological, evolutionary point of view. Biologically, we're still set up for an environment that hasn't existed for ten millenia, because ten millenia is a very short time in evolution.

In short, I'm not talking about the goddamn 1950s, here, or even the 950s. People who still manage to live in social environments that mimic the sorts human beings have had for most of our history have been known to laugh at the very idea of suicide. It's completely alien to them.
94
"@83 Amen to mid-century misconceptions still mucking things up, but there are plenty of things that are harmful and genetic and not out of the genome. There's a gene that causes sickle-cell anemia in its homozygous form but confers resistance to malaria in people who only have one copy. Huntington's disease confers no advantage but it is still with us because it usually hits people after they've reproduced."

Oh, I understand that. However, as I understand it, diseases that are purely genetic and genetic+environmental factors are the exception, not the norm. I've seen Huntington's mentioned as demonstration of this fact, along with myatonic dystrophy.

I'm not saying the human animal is perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. What I'm saying is that the evidence points to depression being WAAAAAAAY more a matter of nurture than nature.
95
@93 I'm pretty sure civilization was created for a reason, namely to ensure that everyone had enough food and to establish a sort of societal order that stopped people from killing each other for food. And it was not because the populations grew so big, but because of the need for stable sources of food that didn't entirely depend on the weather. And sorry, but I will take my overstressed life over a supposedly cuddly relaxed lifespan of 30 years. Picturing the hunter/gatherer lifestyle as all cuddles and rainbows is incredibly silly.
96
@93 - "And it was not because the populations grew so big, but because of the need for stable sources of food that didn't entirely depend on the weather."

Possibly. However, that doesn't change the fact that we human beings radically altered our way of eating and living from that which our bodies had evolved for.

"And sorry, but I will take my overstressed life over a supposedly cuddly relaxed lifespan of 30 years. "

First of all, the "average lifespan of 30 years" statistic is highly misunderstood. It's a mean average that's calculated based largely on high infant and childhood mortality. Human beings that survived past childhood could generally be counted on to live a full lifespan.

But as it happens, I agree with you. I'm not a primitivist, and even if I was, it's not feasible. What I'm saying is, we need to adapt our modern lifestyle to account for some of the important biological stresses it places on us, stresses we didn't evolve for.

97
@92 Well I can't prove you wrong since the comment I was so up in arms against #12 has been pulled. All I can say is it's been up for several days, it suggested exactly what I said it did in very clear language, and you had DAYS to reread it which I was trying to tactfully suggest by literally giving you the comment number. I've been reading at a college level for well over a decade now so I doubt I suddenly had a senior moment, especially since I made myself reread it at least half a dozen times before deciding to post my strongly worded, but hopefully polite comment to OutInBumF. So I'm not sure if you're genuinely confused and trying to reply or an opportunist making a thinly veiled attempt at rewriting history by strong arming me into agreement.

I from the bottom of my heart dislike OutInBumF's characterization of people with incurable depression as somehow unlovable taints in the gene pool. Having never suffered from it myself I know I can't add much to the conversation except that I strongly agree that the lifestyle choices of people with it should be left to them, their medical/mental support and family.

I can say that I went through a long period of unemployment in my early twenties when the economy crashed. My shame at being useless and helpless after experiencing a small taste of adulthood, of seeing the friends and things I love move on while I was trapped was agonizing. I felt like a failure, a burden and a lot of what I heard from family was about all the things I was doing wrong. So to see people heap "reasonable" abuse on a group of people suffering from something tenfold what I did without a means to escape makes my blood boil.

As for your third paragraph about not wanting to pass something on to a child; putting personal preferences for children aside there is really no guarantee of a child's health. Perfectly healthy people can have children with physical, developmental and mental complications while I've seen some of the unhealthiest, pathological people bring some pretty fucking awesome children into this world. All you can do is always try to give them the best of yourself if you do decide to have them and help them deal with whatever life gives them. So once again, let's leave high level choices to individuals, their doctors, physiatrists, and families.
98
LadyLaurel @83 Just wanted to add my thanks for the constructive list of things to try. Haven't watched Mr. Rogers in years... Did you develop that listyourself from many sources, or is there a guidebook to managing depression which you found helpful?
99
When I comment I usually comment on only one of the letters because I'm lazy, but today I have something to say about all three of these.

SAD - It's nice to see a letter from somebody who is doing everything right for once, but nobody actually gave him advice about how to remain friends with a depressed person. I think it's likely her depression will improve, especially if she has a friend as patient as this, but it will take years. This might sound odd but it would be best if SAD learned how to empathize with his depressed friend a bit less. He should care about her life, but not be so empathetic that he gets down every time she is down. Sympathetic sadness will only make things worse if it gets overwhelming.

RISK - This doesn't make sense to me. I can easily imagine a murderer would rather kill a stranger in their own home so they can ensure the body is disposed of, rather than leaving evidence behind. Besides, the chance of being murdered is far less than the chance of being raped, and I'm assuming that's what the letter writer was most concerned about. I can't think of any way to have one night stands that reduces risk of rape, and being in a relationship probably doesn't help much either considering how many rapes are committed by somebody the victim knows. I guess the only way to sleep with men smaller and weaker than you... unless he has a gun.

ABDL - I have a fetish for vorarephilia, which is even weirder than the diaper fetish. There have been many times I have wished I could get rid of this fetish forever. I think the advice here is good, but I wouldn't really know because I have less relationship experience than this guy who at least found people to role play with him.
100
@98 - that is entirely my list, pulled from many sources. But if you're looking for good reading materials, I'd recommend the following:

"Why Do I Do That?" by Joseph Burgo and Burgo's blog, "After Psychotherapy."

"Scattered Minds" by Gabor Mate (he's writing about ADHD, not depression, but I find the line between the two is thin and the overarching message and information about healthy brain development is amazing)

"The Tao Of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff and the writings of Scott Bradley on the blog "The Rambling Taoist": http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com/

"Neuroscience For Dummies"

And yeah, Mr. Rogers is amazing. A lot of people remember him as a beloved, kind voice from childhood, but most people don't know that the man really, really knew his stuff when it came to psychology and child development. I went through a period of time where I was starting every day with yoga and Mr. Rogers and yeah...it was liking having someone reach inside my mind and heart into my imperfect childhood and fix it. It brought me to tears most days and was incredibly cathartic and healing.
101
"Delaney is now the official spokesperson for all people everywhere who struggle with depression."

Oh thanks, Dan, for telling us that a white, straight, affluent man is the spokesperson for an illness that predominantly affects women and the poor.

Fuck Rob Delaney and fuck his stupid advice. The writer was looking for a fucking pat on the back and he sure got one, didn't he?